Luke Richardson starts rookie Andrew Hammond instead of Nathan Lawson and the surprising move backfires as Portland scored five unanswered goals beating the hapless Senators 5-1 in front of a snow stormed sparse crowd at the Arena. In perhaps setting the tone, Richardson was ‘saving’ Lawson for Saturday night’s big game in Ottawa and not risking injury as the whole team played that same way in looking ahead and not taking the Pirates seriously. The top offensive club in the league didn’t show up returning to home ice after their recent four game road trip failing to gain points in the talented East Division as Portland evened up the home and home mini series.
First period underway with some physical hits and a fight breaks out between Darren Kramer and Kyle Hagel as those two have some unfinished business to take care of from Saturday night’s game. Kramer the aggressor and lands some punches and gets the take down. Senators follow-up with Jim O’Brien scoring on his backhander off of Mark Visentin‘s blocker and we have a 1-0 contest. Jean-Gabriel Pageau wrestles down Brandon McMillan to the ice and both go off for roughing minors.
David Dziurzynski drives down on a breakaway but is tied up by Chris Summers and he gets the holding call as David was unable to finish the play. No penalty shot was awarded but borderline call. Sens power play draws up nothing as the physical play continues. Senators overwhelming the Pirates with their speed and crisp playing but that would change as Chris Brown shoots under Hammond sprawled on his back and into the net to put Portland on the board. Rostislav Klesla‘s shot from the blue line takes a strong bounce from the end boards and finds its way to Brown for the goal.
Portland is not done in the period and would score again, this time on the power play with Brown scoring his second getting the deflection out front just under the crossbar in past Hammond. Brandon Gormley‘s slap shot from the point was taken with a lot of activity in front as the D fails to clear the lane. 2-1 Pirates and as the period closes Fredrik Claesson throws a body check on McMillan which draws a crowd and out of it and Mark Borowiecki looks for a dance partner and finds one from Mark Louis as the two would fight with Louis getting the takedown. Boro favoring his left hand after that fight and taking a shot to it earlier in the period.
McMillan would add to the Pirates lead with his eight of the season on the power play making it a 3-1 game to start the second period. Senators look to be deflated as the Pirates have the game’s momentum. Binghamton goes on a pair of power plays of their own but don’t carry through as Visentin is having a solid game in net. O’Brien frees up Shane Prince and the speedster races to the puck and shoots in on Visentin’s five hole but is denied.
With Andre Petersson in the box for charging Gormley shoots from the blue line and in past Hammond for another power play goal making it a 4-1 contest. Claesson failed to move his man from the slot but Andrew should have made a better effort making the save. Borowiecki takes an undisciplined interference penalty on Phil Lane and the Pirates strike again making it look easy on a 3-2 break. Brandon Yip dishes it to Tobias Rieder for his 15th of the season and into the open net for the goal. Hammond committed to early on the play and Daniel New‘s slide in front was not the wisest choice to make. Nice play by Yip drawing Hammond out of position and making the cross ice pass.
Hammond makes a glove save to the home crowd’s mock cheers when Ethan Werek drops Chris Wideman in front of Hammond and Andrew tries to grab Werek off getting the attention of fellow netminder Visentin, who has skated out from his crease towards center ice. Kramer nudges Werek and receives a 10 minute misconduct. All Portland as this going to be an interesting third period coming up.
Well, third period and Hammond is done after letting in five unanswered Pirate goals on 14 shots with Lawson in relief to the fans approval. Not much would amount as the period plays itself out. Senators wind up killing a five on three-man advantage. Kramer gets tossed after being called on a double roughing charge and skates over to Werek and gets his stick tripping the Pirates winger and is done with another misconduct. Lawson made a couple of nice saves in the period but little too late as the contest is over.
NOTES & OBSERVATIONS
- Hammond inconsistent as he looked really bad in a couple of goals but again, it’s the defense that didn’t help out the rookie goaltender. That fifth goal was just sick being set up by Yip as the hungrier team tonight was Portland.
- Portland wins only their second game in the past 11 as Binghamton scores one goal for the second time in their past three games, last coming in Manchester.
- The two clubs didn’t have as much a fight filled contest like their last meeting but did manage two in a half ones, the half being Pagers bear hug with McMillan in the first.
- Not much more to go on as the team forgets this one and moves on looking to regain their offensive touch and defensive tightness game Saturday night in Ottawa.
3 STARS OF THE GAME
- #1 Visentin (22 saves)
- #2 Brown (2a)
- #3 Gormley (1g 1a)
Saturday Night host Hamilton Bulldogs @ Canadian Tire Centre – Ottawa, ON
Cover photo courtesy of Alicia Strauch.